Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday that building factories in the provinces was vital for generating jobs and as big of a priority as building more schools.
Speaking to more than 28,000 workers in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet city during the inauguration ceremony of an auto assembly plant, Mr Hun Sen said the government has transformed the Cambodian border areas into peace zones with social economic development.
He said that Cambodian and Vietnamese people engaged in transactions with each other along the border of both countries as well as with Thailand, especially in Koh Kong province.
“We are spreading to other places in order to respond to the developing country’s need and we are building more factories to provide jobs to our people,” Mr Hun Sen said.
“Previously, we tried to build schools near your homes and your communities so it is easy for you to get the chance to learn in your village or commune which has one high school per commune and many high schools in a district,” the premier added.
“In the past, you did not have factory jobs. How much do you earn from farming? And now, how much do you earn from working here, including income earned from farming by your parents?” he asked workers.
Kaing Monika, deputy secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said that building more factories in the provinces made sense since Bavet city was crowded.
“However, this is only possible when the provinces have reached an appropriate level of infrastructure development, both hard and soft,” Mr Monika said.
“Strategic location is also a point of consideration for investors, particularly export-oriented manufacturing,” he said. “That’s why now we see more development close to international borders and the sea port. On strategic location, I’m aware that the government has already identified.”
Late last year, Mr Hun Sen said that he planned to push for more factories in the provinces in order to offer employment opportunities to local workforces rather than having labourers leave their hometowns to travel to the capital.
Mr Monika also said then that between 30 and 40 percent of GMAC’s 500 registered factories were located in Phnom Penh, with the remainder in Kandal, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Kampot, Svay Rieng, Pursat, Battambang and Preah Sihanouk provinces.